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Gov’t addresses service delivery bottlenecks

To ensure the provision of good quality public services, Government is in the process of reviewing its policies and regulations to remove all bottlenecks affecting service delivery in Government departments.

Addressing Heads of Departments in Selebi Phikwe recently, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Nonofo Molefhi noted that one of the key areas to be looked at is decentralisation of services in order to advance service delivery.
Molefhi who is also Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe East, implored Government Departments to pull together and share resources where possible in order to ensure that services are delivered to the public.

He emphasised that a collaborative approach amongst Government departments could address some of governance inefficiencies. He stressed that collective action is key in achieving social outcomes as they cannot be achieved by public service providers or government alone without the involvement of citizens, business community, civic societies and other groups.

He further encouraged civil servants to have a meaningful input in identifying inefficiencies in Government systems and procedures thereby helping Government to address governance bottlenecks in the delivery of public services. Molefhi called on all civil servants to be conversant with the Vision 2036 pillars which points out to the developmental aspirations of the nation. He said they must familiarise themselves with Vision 2036 document as it “serves as a guide in taking the country to another level.”

Launched in 2016, Vision 2036 is largely seen as Botswana’s transformative blueprint that all service providers especially civil servants must fully understand in order to align their service delivery to achieve national aspirations as outlined in the four pillars of Sustainable Economic Development, Human and Social Development, Sustainable Environment as well as Governance, Peace and Security.

Concerning BCL and the economic status of Selebi Phikwe, the Minister pleaded with civil servants to contribute in finding lasting solutions that will help address Selebi Phikwe’s social and economic challenges. He noted that their contribution can improve or unlock new ideas that could help Government to arrest the situation. He pointed out that the closure of BCL Mine resulted in loss of jobs, a situation that has socially and economically affected families and the business community.

Molefhi revealed that the closure of the mine which was the economic mainstay of the town has further resulted in an increase of people enrolled under the Social and Community Development (S&CD) Programme for care, a development that forces Government as the main service provider to manage the situation.

Laws not speaking to each other

When addressing social workers and Ward Development Committee members on the delivery of social services in Selebi Phikwe late last year, Minister of Basic Education, Bagalatia Arone noted that some policies and regulations need to be revised and harmonised in order to improve performance. Arone who was speaking in his capacity as a member of Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Governance and Social Welfare observed that a number of Botswana laws “ do not speak to each other,” thereby causing confusion and impacting badly on the delivery of public services.

He said some regulations and policies clash as well as portfolios within some of the departments, something that he said must be rectified if successful delivery of public services is to be achieved. One of the key reforms that would enhance service delivery according to Arone is to introduce officers to a basic law course which will enable them to understand the fundamental parameters of law to be able to interpret policies, understand them and act accordingly to deliver services. He said public servants being the service providers lack the basic knowledge of law which translates into poor understanding of regulations and policies that should guide service delivery.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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